7 Steps to a Successful Radio Station (Online)
Do you love radio? Is it the reason you created a web radio station?
Are you looking for tips and steps to make your radio station successful?
Sorry for the flurry of questions. It’s just to ensure that we’re on the same page.
Is Radio Still Awesome?
Yes, it is. It is better than queuing up a playlist.
However, playing hits or good music doesn't make a radio station great. If it were, then the medium would be dead.
Listening to the radio tends to be a different experience because you know that there is someone in a studio somewhere entertaining you. In addition to music, you get listen or interact with the hosts.
Radio is also interactive. It has a sense of community. For instance, radio stations ask listeners to call in.
You may never have your call picked on a live show, but hearing other listeners pitch in or answer questions, makes radio all the more inclusive.
Radio also tells you what’s hot! The biggest tracks of the moment.
Now, here are the steps to make your radio station successful:
Step 1: Make Your Radio Station “Addictive”
Being addicted to radio trumps being addicted to TV. Honestly, think about it. It’s a good addiction that doesn’t take anything from you.
See, you can still do whatever you want while still listening to the radio. You can work and drive…You don’t have to sit and watch.
Radio only goes after the listener’s ears. You can even attempt this exercise: search for “being addicted to TV” then search for “being addicted to radio.”
If you don’t like the word, “addiction.” Switch it up, use “enthusiasm.” Okay, so how do you make your station addictive:
What do all the addictive substances share:
They bring pleasure.
They bring happiness (even if it’s temporary).
They are out of the ordinary.
The rest of this article is dedicated to making people addicted to your radio station in a good way. Ensuring that people prefer your station to playlists or videos. Guaranteeing that they will choose to play your station in the background as they work, instead of watching YouTube. Yeah, a lot of people do that.
Step 2: “You” is the Magic Word
Are you selfish?
“No?” Then, your station should not be self-seeking!
Being selfish means that you’re more in touch with your well-being and needs. Not caring about the pleasure and well-being of others.
For instance, if you’re self-centered, you might not wish someone a good morning when you first see them.
When someone listens to your station, they should feel like there are being treated with warmth.
Again these are simple things you can try:
Saying hello to the listener before the start of the broadcast.
Acknowledging your listeners for choosing your station. You can drop a simple on-liner, “Thank you for choosing ZFM, the home of fresh hits.”
Speaking to the listener like they are in the studio with you. For instance, “You won’t believe what happened in London this morning.”
Step 3: Giving Back
The best striving is striving to be good. Well, if you can’t be good, at least you’ll want to be aligned with a good person. It’s the reason people like personalities like Mother Teresa or Bill Gates. So, how can your station give back?
“Free giveaways, yo.”
Yeah, give people the chance to win free stuff. For a small station, you might not have the resources or connections to give away big gifts, like a trip to Rome.
However, there are many things within your reach, for instance, gift cards or free t-shirts.
Contests and free giveaways spur listener engagement. Here is a good example: In 1972, the Last Contest got some much attention that on its final day, the sheer amount of people calling in caused a 1/3 of San Diego’s phone network to go down. You can read about “The Last Contest” here.
Step 4: Don’t Be Bland
Does your playlist look like this?
Lunch Hour Show
Now, here is a simple question: “Can the listener create the same playlist?” If the answer is yes, it means that there is nothing special with playing hits after hits.
Pushing the envelope requires that you be unique. Let’s spruce up the Lunch Hour Show.
Revamped Lunch Hour Show
Sweeper: “ZFM, bringing you the best lunchtime hits.”
Sweeper: “ZFM. Have a good lunch hour.”
Song 3: Higher Love—Kygo, Whitney Houston
Link 30 seconds: “That was Higher Love. I bet you’re feeling the higher love from us. Did you actually know that Higher Love was first released in 1986 by Steve Winwood? Whitney recorded her cover in 1990.”
Radio Promo: “Connect with your favorite radio by liking us on Facebook. Find us by searching ZFM.”
Liner: “Now back to the music.”
Sweeper (4 seconds): “ZFM. We server crisp hits.”
Link (This time tell a joke)
Z F M
Z F M who?
Zebra From Madagascar!”
Certainly, this arrangement requires more time & effort. But your listener receives more value than if they created their own playlist.
Keep your links short (30 seconds to 1 minute) and pack them full of information. If you keep your listeners waiting for the next song for 5 minutes, be sure that they will find a less annoying stream.
Step 5: Personable & Friendly Personalities
Radio personalities are important…now that music is accessible anywhere.
You may think otherwise, great. Still, we can be on the same page that the best radio stations have some of the best-known personalities.
Which qualities should your radio presenters have?
Relatable – In touch with the needs of their listeners. The host should be someone the listener will gladly want to have as a friend.
Energetic – They should be glad to be in the studio. Energy can’t be faked!
Informative – Each day the presenter should show up ready to entertain and inform their audience. For instance, researching and presenting facts, or sharing life lessons from their personal experience.
People smarts – Having the ability to perceive and respond to the struggles, likes, dislikes, pains, moods, and feelings of their audience.
In touch with their world – The presenter connects the listener to other worlds; be it entertainment, politics, art, music, fashion… So the host should know their world. If your world is tech, know it well.
Step 6: Spread Your Reach – Podcasts, YouTube Videos, Sound Cloud, etc.
What’s the most important asset at a radio station? Is it fancy broadcasting gear? Are the presenters, the most important assets?
Here is your most important asset. Your content. Your content is king.
It’s what draws people to your station. You should find different avenues of delivering this content so you can reach as many listeners as possible.
For instance, a business selling handicrafts may sell their wares from a brick & mortar store. They may also own a website, Amazon page, etc.
Similarly, you can distribute your content on:
Facebook (Short bits of your shows, or live video stream)
YouTube (Video or audio shows)
Radio Archives on your website
Step 7: High Standards of Professionalism
If you’re going to do it, do it "properly."
Seek excellence in all facets of your radio station. For instance, apply compression to your stream to make more pleasant. Also, create radio imaging that's better and more entertaining than anything out there.
The reality is:
Few people, few companies, few stations even become exceedingly successful.
It's not because the opportunities are few. The price of success is high.
If we were to put it in monetary terms, success doesn’t cost a few bucks. It’s millions in time and dedication. You must want it.
Secondly, you should 10X your effort. For instance, if you think that 10 minutes promoting your station on Facebook should do it, or 10 minutes creating your imaging should do the trick, think again.
It may take ten times that. If things ain’t working out now, think of how you can 10X your effort and actions for huge success.
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Success in radio depends on how awesome your content is. Still, you need the right hosting partner. At CloudRadio, you get:
A stable & reliable stream.
Streaming up to 320 kbps with no restrictions.
Options (traditional radio hosting or running your station from the Cloud)
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Internet radio at CloudRadio
Choose between two excellent options!